Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Summer Surprise Salad | Lemony Macaroni Salad with Peas and Bacon

No one was more surprised than I was that this light and lemony macaroni salad was well received when I took it to a Fourth of July party last week. I knew that I would like it, but when people started asking for the recipe, I was pleasantly surprised, even though I was counting on taking home leftovers to feed us over the rest of weekend.

When I make a traditional macaroni salad, it's loaded with eggs, sour cream and mayonnaise. This version is still creamy but it has a distinct lemony flavor that makes it light and tangy.

There's a lot of lemon in the dressing --1/4 cup of juice and I 1/2 tablespoons of lemon zest. That's about two lemons. And except for grating the zest and squeezing the juice, this was very easy to put together.

The original recipe, from The Cozy Apron, called for pancetta and fresh thyme. But I had to substitute bacon and dried thyme. If I liked it so well with the substitutions, I can only imagine how I'll like it with fresh thyme.

This is a very pleasant change from typical pasta and macaroni salads. I hope you try it.

Lemony Macaroni Salad with Peas and Bacon
from The Cozy Apron
Serves about 6
12 ounces ditalini pasta, cooked al dente and cooled
 1 cup frozen petite peas, thawed
 4 slices bacon,  diced and crisped bacon
For the dressing:
¾ cup mayo
 1/3 cup olive oil
 ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
 1 ½ tablespoons lemon zest
 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
 1 ½ teaspoons salt
 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
 ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
Put the cooked and cooled macaroni to a large bowl, and add the thawed peas and the bacon If you're serving right away, toss with the dressing. If you're making it ahead of time, keep the pasta, peas and bacon separate and toss together with the dressing right before serving.
To make the dressing, put all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the mixture is thick and creamy. Store in the fridge until you're ready to serve the salad